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Lab Manager Analytical Product Survey

What Do Gas Chromatography Users Have to Say?

Learn the most common GC problems readers experience, and more, from the latest survey results.

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD, is the managing editor of Clinical Lab Manager.

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Gas chromatography (GC) is a common technique used in analytical chemistry for separating and analyzing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. GC is typically used for separating the different components of a mixture, improving the purity of a particular substance, or identifying a particular compound. GC is a ubiquitous technique, and the various GC instruments available are designed to achieve every requirement of the technique.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a GC System

  1. What factors come into play when determining the GC system specifications you require in terms of cycle time, enhanced operator benefits, increased productivity, and flexibility for specific applications?
  2. What differentiates the vendor’s GC system from others offered, in terms of performance?
  3. How do you validate the specification claims presented by the vendor?
  4. Has the data processing software been designed for enhanced analytics, with workflow in mind and does it support critical compliance requirements?
  5. What are important price points to keep in mind when selecting a GC system?
  6. Laboratories need fast and effective services, including an effective distribution of instruments, spare parts, education, and service personnel. How does the company serve these needs worldwide?

Survey respondents reported the following problems when using their GC systems:

Retention time shifts51%
Baseline disturbances46%
Irregular peak shapes or sizes40%
Loss of separation or resolution40%
Ghost peaks24%
Broad solvent fronts21%
Quantitation problems17%
Rapid column deterioration10%

For those planning to purchase a new GC system, the primary reasons for the purchase are as follows:

Replacement of aging system71%
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity11%
Setting up a new lab4%
First time purchase3%

Factors That Would Help Users Overcome Their GC Issues:

Improved maintenance59%
Better training50%
Newer equipment43%
Better technical support27%
Newer accessories23%

Some of the most exciting applications of GC, as reported by survey respondents:

  • Discovery of new proteins
  • Drug testing
  • Portable GC for field work
  • Flavor profile investigations
  • Pesticide analysis

For more information on GC systems, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See results from previous surveys: